Catering for Special Dietary Requirements Guide for Event Planners

Through the years, modern etiquette for corporate catering services has changed dramatically.  Any form of guest invitation to wine and dine at a corporate function is an invitation to be planned with utmost care and consideration. At present, customised care is taken into consideration given a long list of dietary restrictions and allergies that people deal with, ranging from strict vegan diets, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, and those who follow specific dietary rules such as Paleo dieting, just to name a few. 

Creating menus has been challenging for catering professionals, but it has also been an enriching experience as most reputable catering companies have found ways to work around their menu to address the diverse dietary needs of their clientele. 

Planning a catering menu for an event with many of your guests with identified food intolerances, dietary restrictions, and special requests can be difficult, but thanks to experienced catering companies, you can still provide them with a scrumptious menu without having to make any major changes to the food served to the remaining guests in your list. A catering company that can address these challenges are always at the top of the industry. These are the companies that you should always remember to consider for corporate events and parties. 

  • Make sure to check in with your guests about dietary restrictions, if any

This is a key part of your job as the event planner for your upcoming corporate event. Since catering to a number of dietary restrictions takes time, it’s ideal to plan in advance and send out your enquiries a few weeks before your event. The goal is to deliver a memorable and tasty experience for everyone at your event. To make this a reality, you can’t be caught off-guard at the last minute with special requests and dietary demands. 

Ask your guests politely either via e-mail or over the phone if they have any special dietary needs, while explaining to them that you need such information to plan your menu for the event. It is important for you to find out any dietary restrictions or special requests as this will need to be communicated to your caterer before they finalise the menu for your corporate event or party. Give your guests a deadline to submit their requests and let them know beforehand if such dietary requirement or request will not be accommodated by the caterer. 

  • Accommodating restrictions should be a key part of a catering company’s core services

If you want to guarantee the satisfaction of your guests, you need to partner with a caterer with a positive reputation, with years of expertise in corporate catering. A catering company should have expert knowledge in the prevailing trends in terms of food allergies and dietary restrictions of a large percentage of the Australian population. Statistics such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity are some factors that need to be considered when creating delicious and yet tasty catering menus for clients. 

A catering company that invested time and money to learn about specific dietary restrictions, will help in creating dishes that will be served at corporate events such as yours. So, when choosing a caterer to work with, ask about their expert knowledge and background in preparing different menus for individuals with food allergies and dietary restrictions. 

Here are some of the dietary restrictions that event planners like you should be aware of as well, so you can quickly identify the number of guests who will need a set of special menus during your planned corporate event:

  • Gluten-free diets are those suffering from Celiac disease, an autoimmune condition wherein the body does not have a tolerance to gluten- a common ingredient found in staples such as barley, rye, and wheat. There are also individuals with gluten sensitivity, wherein they suffer from Celiac symptoms when they ingest gluten. 
  • Dairy-free diets are for people suffering from lactose intolerance. Their bodies cannot digest lactose- a common ingredient found in milk, cheeses, and other dairy products. 
  • Nut allergies is caused by hypersensitivity to nuts wherein the immune system suffers from severe reaction producing life-threatening symptoms in some cases. People with nut allergies are commonly sensitive to hazelnuts, chestnuts, walnuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, and in some cases, even coconut. 
  • Paleo diet is a nutritional system wherein individuals only eat food items, such as meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables. Paleo dieters do not consume whole grain, grains, and processed foods. 
  • Raw veganism is a dietary restriction that combines veganism and raw foodism. Individuals under this diet excludes all animal products and do not consume foods that are cooked above 48 degrees Celsius. 
  • Soy-free diets are for individuals with known sensitivity to soy products. This commonly occurs in children, who develop symptoms when they ingest soy milk, tofu, soy protein, and other commercial food ingredients derived from soy. 
  • Vegetarianism is food philosophy where people only follow a plant-based diet with strict exclusion of meat and fish products. 
  • Veganism is a diet philosophy where all animal products are excluded from the diet, including milk, dairy, and eggs.
  • Wheat tolerance is different from those suffering from gluten intolerance, in that the former can still suffer from adverse effects when they consume gluten-free diet. They are generally allergic to barley, oats, rye, and other food items containing wheat.

As an event planner, you need to be very specific in identifying these dietary restrictions and food allergies to your preferred catering company. This will enable caterers to adjust the menu to accommodate any identified food sensitivities that your guests may have. 

Catering companies can create a catering menu for all guests with consideration to specific food allergies and dietary restrictions a few select guests may have. This approach is extremely challenging for caterers. The second approach is simpler and more effective, in that caterers will create individual meals that will be served to guests with identified food allergies and dietary restrictions. Either way, so long as all the dietary needs of guests are addressed by your catering company, your catering menu will be a success altogether. 

If you have an upcoming event and want to discuss dietary restrictions and special menu creation, give us a call today! Square Catering is a catering company that is dedicated to producing quality, healthy, and safe food for the clients we serve. 


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